Exercise 101: Where Should I Begin?

walking-women

Have you taken advantage of your FREE blueprint for weight loss success yet? For the past four weeks I have been talking about a different component of weight loss each week. By practicing the principles that I discuss each week I believe long term weight loss can happen for you without dieting or deprivation.

In order to see the results though you have to do the work, there is no getting around it. What I mean by “the work” is really your path of self-discovery which doesn’t have to feel like “work.” It could and should feel more like fun.

In this week’s blueprint I will reveal how to begin or sustain a daily exercise habit. Is exercise a dirty word for you? Did you know that only 49.6% of Americans exercise regularly? So 51.4% or more than half of Americans do not exercise on a regular basis.

To properly maintain your body you need to move a lot every day so if you aren’t in the category of “regular exerciser” then you could be putting your health at risk. Many Americans spend most of their day sitting in front of a computer. If you are in this situation it is imperative that you balance your life with regular exercise.

If someone tells me that they don’t have time for exercise I ask them “how long would you go without a shower?” Most people respond that they wouldn’t dream of not showering on a daily basis. Exercise is just as important as bathing your body, if you go too long without it eventually it will catch up with you. The other thing I usually point out is that even the President has a regular exercise schedule  and my guess is he probably has more demands on his time than most of us.

Did you know some of these benefits of exercise?

  • Improves energy, appearance, sleep
  • Increases happiness, life span, strength and endurance
  • Decreases health issues, stress
  • Accelerates weight loss

The sooner you get started on a (regular) exercise program the sooner you can start enjoying some of these benefits of exercise.

Note: Please check with your physician before beginning any type of exercise program.

When you first begin an exercise program your body will make some pretty immediate strength and endurance gains if you weren’t doing anything previously. The evidence will be sore muscles and fatigue. This is a good sign so don’t give up.

Exercise is an intensity game so eventually your body is going to get used to this same level of intensity if you don’t kick it up a notch with each exercise session. You want to keep increasing your intensity so you feel just a little bit of discomfort (sweating, heavy breathing, a healthy fatigue) every time you work out.

Being a regular exerciser means every day, around 5-6 days per week. Exercising two to three times per week will only provide a very minimal level of fitness. At first you may find it difficult to work out every day but eventually you will feel a need to exercise and you may actually enjoy your daily exercise sessions. I promise that after about three weeks of regular exercise you will feel a new sense of energy.

So where do you begin? A good starting place is to walk. Walk as much as you can to loosen up your body and to begin building your stamina. You can walk outside but it can be cold this time of year so you may want to look into a gym membership so you can walk on a treadmill. Making walking enjoyable by putting together a playlist so you can listen to your favorite music while you walk. I don’t recommend reading while on the treadmill because your focus is to exercise so save reading for quiet time at home.

How long can you walk for? Can you do 30 minutes? If not, start with 15 or 20 minutes. Walk at a vigorous pace. Slow walking is for recreation and leisure time or when you want to chat with a friend. Walking to increase fitness is a faster pace.

You will know that you are walking at a fast pace by how fast your heart is beating. You want to manage your heart rate by checking your pulse or using the sensors on the treadmill. Ideally you want your heart beats per minute to be in a zone called your target heart rate. For more explanation on target heart rate read this article.

Walking is great for beginner exercisers but you won’t be a beginner forever and eventually you should add in some kind of weight-bearing exercises. Strength training is important to build lean mass. A good indicator of overall health is a higher percentage of lean mass to fat mass ratio. Building lean mass is just as important as increasing cardiovascular endurance, they work hand in hand. For more information on lean mass read this article.

A third essential component to personal fitness is flexibility which includes activities like stretching and yoga. Optimally a well-balanced exercise program includes cardiovascular, strength and flexibility exercises. So if all you are doing is walking you should add in the other components of exercise for a more well-rounded program.

You need to figure out what you enjoy doing to make exercise a daily part of your life. You could make a list of 3-5 activities that you enjoy and could do on a regular basis for 20-30 minutes a day. These activities may change over time but you need to have a starting place. To kick off your program set a realistic but slightly outside of your comfort zone goal like to run a 5K or 10K or to do 20 push-ups by a certain date.

If you enjoy the gym you may want to hire a personal trainer especially if you haven’t exercised in a long time. A personal trainer will teach you how to safely use the exercise equipment, set you up on a program, and will also be good accountability. If you don’t want to go the personal trainer route I recommend finding an exercise partner to help motivate you and also to provide accountability. You could also check out some of the fitness apps that are out now available to track your results.

Have you recently begun an exercise program? How did you get started? My readers would love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments if you would like to share your fitness story with others who may need your motivating words to get the exercise ball (no pun intended) rolling.

I am getting ready to launch my first online weight loss product. If you would like to learn the secret to permanent weight loss you can check out my website sherimcnally.com, follow me on Twitter @sherimcnally, or visit my NEW Happiness Factor Book Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/home.php. I would be so grateful if you could Like my page, if you like what I have to say.

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